The Women Accelerators was created to “Engage, Empower, Elevate!” people in their careers and personal growth. We want to inspire and help people with their careers through our events and great speakers. That is the reason we invited speakers Amy Rebecca Gay, PhD, Deb Elbaum, MD, CPCC, CNTC, and Rachel Rice, MBA, EEM-CP to share their knowledge on how to effectively communicate while setting boundaries. It all comes down to the art of saying “Yes and No with Confidence and Ease.”
The event was full of engaging exercises that the speakers demonstrated to the attendees. It all started out with the “Wheel of Boundaries Exercise.” If you were to establish four different categories in your life that you need to prioritize, are you maintaining and setting boundaries for each of them under different challenging circumstances?
Amy presented the crafting Power of a “Positive No” and said that we have to reflect on our “Wheel of Boundaries” by rating our tolerance of our boundaries from 1-10. Determining what is challenging and comfortable about our own boundaries helps us to effectively communicate them to others. Amy asked the attendees about what’s challenging about your life? You may need to know where you are before you can respond. What are our most guarded values? Knowing what’s important for you will help us decide our wheel of boundaries. For instance, if you were to put two different items on the scale you need to have enough weight on each side to have an equal balance.
It goes the same for our lives, you need to give the same amount of attention on tasks at hand in order to maintain that balance. Quite often, we have a hard time saying “no” when a new project is given to us even though we already have a heavy workload. We have a hard time saying no because we are worried of losing our jobs and disappointing our boss.
Steve Jobs once said “It is only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” We often don’t know how to say “no” effectively while maintaining the relationship with the other person. The group did an exercise on how to communicate effectively on “Positive No” when it is outside our boundaries. We also wrote down what are the circumstances that we could say an affirming “Yes”, and with an invitation for a constructive way to begin a conversation on the topic. It is about making a proposal or negotiation that will meet our needs as well as their needs. Knowing when to say no with a “softer” no and say “Here’s what I value, how else can we work together?” is a diplomatic way of collaborating without coming across too rigid.
The event was full of tips, techniques and demonstrations that everyone can start implementing in their personal and work lives. The attendees not only learned how to say a positive “No” but also got to interact with people that are going through the same situations. From the beginning to the end of the event, the speakers gave the attendees a chance to reflect about themselves as well as gain new perspectives on how to approach setting boundaries. It’s a collaborative approach.
What am I worried about when asserting my needs?
Here are a few examples from the audience:
- I’m worried that I’m going to do the wrong thing
- I’m afraid I’m going to be fired
- I’m worried somebody is going to take my response the wrong way
- I’m worried if i say no, I will get sabotaged later
- I’m worried that I’m not good enough.
- I may damage my relationship with the person
When we are in the moment, we don’t want our emotions to get out of control and get the best of us. Sometimes we store our emotions in our acupuncture meridians, which creates blockages. Rachel said that the process of tapping, a.k.a. Emotional Freedom Technique, can release the emotional distress from our bodies. Emotional Freedom Technique is also known as energy psychology.
We did an exercise of naming our limiting beliefs or emotions and rating our distress from 0-10. Next we created an acceptance phrase such as: “Even though I’m afraid to get fired, I accept myself for how I feel. I really need to accept how I feel with my body and mind.” Tapping my palm and karate chops can calm my body. It gives you the feeling that you are not in a fight or flight mode like standing in front of a tiger. The tap points to release the emotional symptoms are: eyebrow, side of eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under arm and top of head.
Finally, Deb said that we have to develop an action plan that will take us toward setting effective boundaries. We have to take baby steps by setting a time frame and not making big changes. We have to be accountable to ourselves. Writing it down and practicing this with a friend will help us to be more comfortable about saying yes or no with ease and confidence.
We also have another great event lined up in November. We invited Tamar Newberger on November 15th. She will be speaking about how she navigated her way through her career in the tech industry. Please subscribe to our newsletter or contact us for our future events.